The March 2012 issue of Women in Higher Education reported on an Australian study about what women are looking for in leaders. The researchers, Dr. Athena Vongalis-Macrow and Dr. Andrea Gallant, identified five recommendations for women who want to move into higher levels of leadership.
- Effectively use both “hard” and “soft” leadership skills – leaders need to be compassionate and assertive.
- Make decisions clearly and quickly.
- Focus on strategic issues and the big picture.
- Demonstrate high emotional intelligence, not making issues personal.
- Provide leadership for the group or organization, not just trying to protect a current job.
What’s new here? I think it is the underlying realization that women don’t necessarily prefer women – or men – as leaders. Women do care about decisiveness, clarity, inspiration, strategic thinking, and the ability to balance interpersonal relations with the organizational vision. I’ll bet men care about the same characteristics in leaders.
(WIHE reports that this information came from a Harvard Business Review blog on February 6, 2012.)